Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Podcast to the Curious - a treat for M.R. James enthusiasts

This is turning out to be rather an M.R. James Christmas. So let me recommend A Podcast to the Curious:
Each episode your humble hosts Will Ross and Mike Taylor will be tackling a different M.R James story, providing a commentary on the story and discussing its themes and form interlaced with readings from the story. Along the way we hope to include discussion on stage, screen and radio adaptations of James’ stories, information on James’ life and interests as well as on the legions of authors who were inspired by him.
In fact their latest podcast looks at Mark Gatiss's adaptation of The Tractate Middoth and his documentary on James, which was shown immediately afterwards. I rather share their judgement that the documentary was better than the adaptation.

For a more typical podcast from the series try Lost Hearts - I blogged about the 1973 television adaptation of this on Boxing Day.

Talking of M.R. James, last year the Guardian recommended the boxed set Ghost Stories for Christmas, which contains all the adaptations of his tales from the 1970s:
These are some of the finest moments of British TV, from the era when our airwaves were the envy of the world. The stories were helmed by documentary director Lawrence Gordon Clark, who shot them all on film and on location, so there are no jarring cuts to the harsh video or flimsy sets that one associates with British TV of the time: they play like highly accomplished short films. 
Their powerful scares and creeping unease are as potent now as they were decades ago.
And, through the podcast, I have come across the website Ghosts & Scholars, which is dedicated to academic studies of these tales.

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